May 26, 2011 10:19 AM
The porcelain Perfect Imperfect Dinner Plate ($109) is far from the pristine associations china brings to mind. We like when our expectations get shattered, and the artistic asymmetry of these plates isn't even over the top. Quiet style. That's refreshing.
Inspired by the Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi, these plates are irregular by design. Ideals of Eastern beauty are driven by characteristics closer to nature than perfection. Simplicity is favored over embellishment, rough textures over shine, and transience over permanence. All qualities of wabi-sabi are humble, subtle and fleeting. More than just an aesthetic, it's a philosophy guided by Impermanence (one of the three marks of existence in Buddhism) and the distinctly Japanese ideal, iki (unsophisticated directness).
Recommended literature: For conceptual continuations, check out the enthralling book, Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers ($11); for a more tangible take on the aesthetic, try Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House ($14).